|Photo by SimplyManna.com|
Today most farms in the US are not sustainable farms. Industrialization and technology have spawned massive commercial land use for agriculture. Bio engineered seeds, mechanization, synthetic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, and government subsidies that, while enable mass production of food, threaten the environment, human health, communities, and animal welfare. These large commercial agriculture enterprises have gained large market control and driven many of the small family farms that practiced sustainability out of business.
|Industrial farming has taken control of our food system.|
Photo by SimplyManna.com
The great Dust Bowl of the 1930s in the U.S. resulted in ecological, economical, and financial ruin. While extended drought and unusually high temperatures contributed to this disaster, much of the blame is attributed to ignoring the requirements of sustainable farming in lieu of the profits of mechanized farming. In 1931, farmers produced record wheat crops. Soon more than 5 million acres of previously unfarmed land was plowed. Their pursuit of more profits eventually brought down prices and resulted in insurmountable losses.
The plow based farming caused a loss of fertile topsoil that blew away in the dry winds. The once fertile land was left at risk to drought and a harsh under soil for growing crops. When the drought came by 1932, huge dust storms, also called black blizzards, pelted the region. They were so huge that dust was reported at the White House and seen by ships on the Atlantic Ocean.
Today’s commercial farms pursue profits by relying on chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetically modified crops to produce food. However these practices diminish and degrade soil, lessen biodiversity, and cause air and water pollution.
|Non-sustainable farming practices helped contribute to the Great Dust Bowl.|
Photo by SimplyManna.com
Neighboring communities are at risk as well as the general population consuming many of the foods produced by these enterprises. The ecological price for commercial farming has been high with erosion, depleted soil, polluted water, and risky foods.
Sustainable farmers steer clear of pesticides by incorporating the natural organisms that eliminate or control pests. This results in fruits and vegetables that are safer for their employees, neighboring communities, and ultimately, the consumer. Through the conscientious management of animal and livestock waste, these farmers limit the amount of and exposure to hazardous pollutants. They raise animals absent of the use of highly questionable non-therapeutic antibiotics. Sustainable farmers treat animals and natural wildlife with respect and apply livestock husbandry practices that guard the health and well being of their animals. Rather than the high stress restrictive confines of mass farm buildings, sustainable farmers allow livestock to roam pasture and eat a natural diet.
One complaint of critics of sustainable farming claim is that the methods result in lower crop yields and higher land use, which if practiced by them would result in world food shortages and less profits. There is new evidence that in time, sustainable farms can be as productive as the industrial farms and as profitable while not destroying the land for future growing. Sustainable agriculture is not only economically viable and environmentally sound, but these farmers live by philosophies that believe in providing workers with livable wages and safe working conditions. Public awareness of the health and environmental dangers of mass commercial farming is growing and so is the support and demand for sustainable foods.
|The life cycle of a healthy, chemical free soil.|
Graphic by SimplyManna.com
Brought to you courtesy of Simply Manna
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